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Charlotte P. "Sherry" Hutchison papers

Identifier: IWA1296

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Scope and Contents

The Charlotte P. Hutchison papers date from 1973 to 2004 and measure 7.5 linear inches in 2 boxes. The papers are arranged in three series: Biographical (1964-2018), Anti-War and Anti-Nuclear Activism (1974-2005), and Community Reform (1979-1994). The first series consists of biographical material that speaks to Hutchison’s activism, as well as detailed notes that Hutchison took at various talks and events, such as a conference on the Iowa court system and a forum in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Anti-War and Anti-Nuclear Activism series includes the “Statement of Position” that Hutchison and other shareholders and environmentalist groups submitted to the Iowa State Commerce Commission in 1976 in order to challenge Iowa Power and Light Company’s (now MidAmerican Energy) plans to build a nuclear power plant in Jasper County, Iowa. Hutchison also wrote a personal reflection on how her Quaker values informed her opposition to the power plant. The material on nuclear war and disarmament includes pamphlets, newsletters, magazines, and newspaper clippings on related topics; Hutchison’s notes on related events, such as a debate on national security organized by the League of Women Voters of Iowa; and Hutchison’s correspondence with senators and other government officials. A significant amount of material relates to efforts to pass the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the late 1990s. The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) material includes notes, correspondence, and newsletters, as well as material related to the Des Moines branch’s early history and activities. There is also documentation of the planning and holding of a WILPF National Congress meeting in Madison, Wisconsin in 1989; members of the Des Moines branch of WILPF presented a workshop on nonviolent civil disobedience.

The Community Reform series documents Hutchison’s participation in efforts to combat issues like sexism, racism, and police violence on a local level. In the early 1990s, Des Moines community members and organizations considered options for creating a citizen review board to address police misconduct. The discussions were at least partly inspired by a 1991 case in which Des Moines police were accused of using excessive force against an African American man during his arrest. The citizen review board material includes research into citizen review boards in other locations; correspondence, meeting notes, and other material produced by organizations involved in these discussions, such as the League of Women Voters and Coalition for Justice; and newspaper clippings related to the 1991 misconduct case and racism on a local and national level. This series also documents Hutchison’s work organizing a state-wide conference called “Alternatives to Imprisonment" in 1979. Conference material includes a draft of the grant proposal submitted to the Iowa Humanities Program; meeting minutes and correspondence for the planning committee; and a schedule, program, and notes from the conference. Also included are newspaper clippings, reports, and correspondence related to incarceration in Iowa, including the experience of female prisoners. This series also contains material related to the planning, execution, and evaluation of “Unlearning Racism/Sexism” workshops organized by Hutchison and WILPF. The workshops were led by Kesho Y. Scott, Ph.D., an Iowa-based sociologist, writer, and public speaker with extensive experience leading cultural competency workshops. Material of interest includes correspondence and notes related to the WILPF planning committee, details regarding the workshop program, and feedback from participants.


  • Creation: 1973 - 2004


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa. However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Charlotte P. (Sherry) Hutchison was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1919 and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1940. Sherry Hutchison married Lawrence O. (Larry) Hutchison in Berkeley, California in 1945 and the couple had two sons: Perry and Lawrence. Sherry and Larry Hutchison were long-time residents of Des Moines, Iowa, where they were active members of the Quaker community through the Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting. Hutchison served on the regional board of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Iowa Program Faith and Labor Committee, and the AFSC Peace Education Committee. Peace and human rights activist Hutchison was a member and long-time president of the Des Moines chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Hutchison was active with the League of Women Voters (LWV), serving on the board of the Metro Des Moines League and on several LWV committees. In the 1970s, Sherry and Larry Hutchison were part of a three-year shareholder initiative against Iowa Power and Light Company (now MidAmerican Energy) after it announced plans to build a nuclear energy plant near Prairie City, Iowa. Hutchison supported a number of causes, such as disarmament, a nuclear freeze, anti-racism, civil rights, and citizen review boards for police; she continued to attend rallies and protests into her late 90s. Larry Hutchison died in 1988. Sherry Hutchison passed away in 2018.


7.5 linear inches

Language of Materials



Peace and human rights activist from Des Moines, Iowa.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1209) were donated by Charlotte P. Hutchison in 2015.

Related Materials

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Des Moines Chapter) records

Heather Cooper, 2022
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)